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Economy

Exporters call for government help to reach wider market

TREASURY’S GEOFFREY MWAU, TRADE PS CHRIS KIPTOO, KCB CHIEF EXECUTIVE JOSHUA OIGARA AND ASSOCIATION OF SUPPLIERS OF KENYA CHAIRMAN KIMANI RUGENDO. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG  
TREASURY’S GEOFFREY MWAU, TRADE PS CHRIS KIPTOO, KCB CHIEF EXECUTIVE JOSHUA OIGARA AND ASSOCIATION OF SUPPLIERS OF KENYA CHAIRMAN KIMANI RUGENDO. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG   

Kenyan exporters are calling for diplomatic support to enable them diversify markets and boost trading amid tough competition from other countries.

Speaking at the Trade Week which ended Wednesday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi, the business people cited unfair bilateral trade agreements, lack of trade policies and harmony in marketing Kenya’s products abroad as some of the factors that hurt the country’s international trade potential.

The government launched a new export promotion strategy aimed at broadening the country’s international market, diversifying export products and boosting foreign exchange income from trade. 

Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said the government is keen on unlocking the potential of international trade, adding that the segment can contribute up to a third to the country’s economic growth.

“We are able to contribute much more than the 8 per cent to the GDP. I am certain that if we implement these strategies well, we can boost that to 15 per cent in the medium term and ultimately to 30 per cent by 2020,” Mr Kiptoo said.

More than 70 per cent of Kenya’s export market is in 12 countries, underlining the need to diversify.

Mr Kiptoo said part of the strategy will involve prioritising the country’s exports. The areas of focus, he said include livestock and livestock products, horticulture, fisheries and manufacturing. Traders also complained of expensive transport and poor information on the country’s export markets, locking out many potential traders.

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